How to Bring an Apple Tree to Your Edible Garden

Eating an apple a day is easy to do if you grow them in your yard. Apple trees are one of the most easily available fruit trees, with varieties for virtually any area and climate. They are also amazing landscape trees, with fragrant spring blossoms, abundant summer foliage and intriguing winter branches.

Choosing just one kind of apple cider grow can be difficult. You will find early, midseason and late apples; oranges for bakingapples and; that are best for eating directly from the tree. Flavors vary from sour. Some self-fertilize; others require a pollinator. Then there’s size and shape. Standard apples may reach 20 feet high and wide, but you can also find dwarf and semidwarf varieties.

Apples are easy to espalier train over a trellis. You can even find colonnade trees, which grow up to about 8 feet tall but get just about two feet wide — think about them the sentries of the backyard. You are going to need at least two of these, since they don’t generally self-fertilize.

A fantastic choice for a small backyard is a multivariety tree. As its name implies, it’s many types on apples on one rootstock. Not only does this kind of tree give you plenty of choices and a more season for fruit, but any needed pollination is supplied.

Laara Copley-Smith Garden & Landscape Design

Where to grow : Apples generally require a winter chill, so they generally do not succeed in tropical or subtropical low-desert climates, such as Hawaii, the low deserts of the Southwest or along the Gulf Coast. On the flip side, if you stay in an area with very harsh winters, you’re going to require a tree using a rootstock that can withstand the cold. Your best bets are USDA zones 1 through 7 for most apples, and zones 8 and 9 for low-chill apples.

Rhonda Kieson Designs

Favorite early-season apples: Anna, Apple Babe, Beverly Hills, Chehalis, Courtland, Dorsett Golden, Ein Shemer, Gala, Golden Russet, Gravenstein, Haralson, Hudson’s Golden Gem, Lodi, Mollie’s Delicious, Norland, Pink Pearl, Pristine, Summerred, William’s Pride, Zestar

Favorite midseason apples: Cox’s Orange Pippin, Delicious (Red Delicious), Empire, Fiesta, Ginger Gold, Golden Delicious (Yellow Delicious), Golden Sentinel (colonnade), Gordon, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Jonagold, Jonathan, Liberty, McIntosh, Pettingill, Rubinette, Scarlet Sentinel (colonnade), Spartan, Wealthy, Winter Banana, Winter Pearmain

Favorite late-season apples: Arkansas Black, Ashmead’s Kernal, Braeburn, Enterprise, Fuji, Gold Rush, Iared, Karmijn de Sonnaville, Matsu (Crispin), Melrose, Northern Spy, Pink Lady, Shikuza, Sierra Beauty, Spitzenberg

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

How to Plant Apple Trees

Most apples are sold as bare-root plants, even though you can find them in containers. Start looking for trees with strong, wide-angled branches that encircle the tree. Colonnade trees should have equally spaced side branches.

When to plant: Plant bare-root trees in full sun with well-drained dirt in late winter or early spring; container trees can be planted from autumn to spring, as long as the soil can be worked and it’s not too cold.

Planting instructions: The planting hole should be twice as broad as but no deeper than the rootball. Fill in with soil and water thoroughly. Add mulch as needed; do not let it touch the back. Remove any weak or crossing branches. If you are likely to espalier, begin now by removing all but the strongest side branches.

If you are planting more than one tree, space standard apple trees 20 to 30 feet apart, semidwarf varieties 12 to 16 feet apart, dwarf ones 5 to 2 feet apart and colonnade ones at least 18 inches apart.

Liquidscapes

How to Care for an Apple Tree

Watering: Water trees deeply and thoroughly, keeping the ground moist but not too saturated. Deep, thorough waterings, even when done less frequently, are best. Mulch will help conserve water as well as discourage weeds.

Feeding: Fertilize with a balanced chemical when the buds first start. Start with about 1/4 pound, then add another 1/4 pound for the next few years before the trees grow. If the tree is growing about 6 inches a year, however, there’s no need to fertilize. Also, cut back on nitrogen in case the tree is generating plenty of leaves but minimal fruit.

Thinning: Apple trees do shed some fruit in June, but you’ll probably have to narrow branches to about 8 inches or more apart, especially smaller branches. This will lead to larger fruit and less inconsistency between the dimensions of the crop from year to year.

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

Pruning: Prune in the end of the dormant season. Apples are fairly resilient; you do not have to follow an specific principle for fear of losing fruit.

Shape the tree to create a pyramid or to have a central trunk with a vase-shaped group of branches in the top (called a modified boss). Remove any branches which are too narrowly angled, either crossing or weakened, or those that are growing out of bounds.

As the tree matures, remove any branches which are not generating as well as people that are crowding the interior; crowding the interior impedes the fantastic air flow which helps prevent diseases.

If you are training the tree in an espaliered routine or as a low, long-term (perfect for an easy harvest), then eliminate any wayward branches to maintain the pattern. Remove wayward branches out of colonnade trees too, even though they require little pruning otherwise.

Pests and diseases: Apples are yummy, but the trees aren’t free of diseases and pests. These lists may seem long, however, the odds are great you won’t receive all of these in your tree, so don’t despair.

Coddling moths top the list of pests, but you may set out spray or traps. Other problems include apple maggots, leafrollers and aphids. The latter are usually a short-term problem, as beneficial insects find and devour them.

Diseases comprise apple scab, cedar apple rust, powdery mildew and fireblight. If these are common in your town, start looking for disease-resistant types. Sunburn may also be an issue.

In all instances good garden hygiene will help prevent difficulties.

Putney Design

Harvest: Early-season apples should be harvested fairly quickly, since they don’t continue well on the tree. Late-season apples can be made on longer.

Cradle the apple in your hands and gently twist the stem, leaving the branch or spur it’s attached to in place. Wrap the apples in paper and keep them in a cool, dark spot.

Do you grow apples? Please inform us in the Comments section what sort does well in which you live.

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Patio of the Week: Keep a Secret Garden on the Side

“The side lawn of a residence is often overlooked, abandoned in favor of their heavily used front and back yards, but this is what’s so good about them they have the perfect capability to develop into silent getaways within a home’s landscape,” says garden designer Bill Dear.

This lovely side yard patio and garden takes up a place that readily could have been overlooked, creating beauty and calmness. Though the backyard has a number of places, including a pool, a deck, an open yard and vegetable and perennial gardens with amazing views of rolling meadows and woodlands, the side yard has a more enclosed flower-lined path, garden and patio that produce a different feeling of sheltered privacy.

Garden at a Glance
Who lives here: A busy family with young teens and frequent guests
Location: Philadelphia
Size: The patio ranges from 7 to 16 feet wide.

Dear Garden Associates, Inc..

The garden beckons back past the pool home (right), with a stepping stone path bordered by colorful blooms.

Dear Garden Associates, Inc..

The path leads from the pool home down to a stone pump house. The curved stone wall into the left is a retaining wall, which provides a grade switch; the timber one to the ideal covers unsightly air conditioners. The location where the path navigates between both is a “pinch point” that’s 7 ft wide, giving a more enclosed atmosphere across the path.

The wet-laid retaining wall is confronted with a sandstone indigenous to the area. The stepping stones are irregular, lilac-colored flagstone. Plants, including varieties of sedum, thyme and veronica, fill in the gaps between the rocks.

Other plants seen here comprise Cotinus coggygria, Geranium x cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo,’ Hosta ‘Golden Tiara’, Iris sibirica ‘Ceasar’s Brother’, Nepeta racemosa ‘Walker’s Low’, Salvia nemerosa ‘Caradonna’ and Stachys byzantina.

Dear Garden Associates, Inc..

A wide variety of heights provides the makeup maximum interest; the higher ground above the retaining wall as well as low, medium and tall perennials and shrubs produce undulating waves of color. These include Cotinus coggygria, Buddleia davidii ‘Lochinch’, Calamintha nepetoides ‘White Cloud’, Geranium ‘Rozanne’, Leucanthemum x superbum ‘Beckyand Rudbeckia fulgida.

A lot of these draw butterflies and hummingbirds.

Dear Garden Associates, Inc..

Once past the pinch point, the space opens up, and also the same stones used on the road spread into a stone patio. Two lounge chairs provide a personal place for getting away from all the activity in the garden.

Dear Garden Associates, Inc..

Plants were selected for attraction year round. “Native Sweetbay magnolias (Magnolia virginiana) flower later in the year than many magnolias, adding white blooms and sweet scents into the garden in late spring,” Dear says.

Dear Garden Associates, Inc..

The low-profile perennials and herbs planted between the rocks not just stand up to warm and arid conditions and light foot traffic, but also the thyme releases a brand new odor when stepped upon.

Plants seen in this opinion include Magnolia virginiana, Clethra alnifolia ‘Hummingbird’, Hamamelis x intermedia, Hydrangea quercifolia, Alchemilla mollis, Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam’, Geranium x cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo’, Iris sibirica ‘Ceasar’s Brother’, Sedum acre and Thymus serpyllum ‘Alba’.

Dear Garden Associates, Inc..

A charming stone spring house marks the close of the side yard garden. Climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala subsp. Petiolaris) partially covers its facade.

“This great blossom has year-round interest and is very versatile,” Dear says. “It becomes self-supporting by using small holdfasts, which attach to the surface of trees, walls, arbors and pergolas, and it also has the potential to drape itself delightfully over both sides of walls or across steep embankments as a ground cover. Its flower is a white lacecap.”

Dear Garden Associates, Inc..

As you might have noticed, the photos in this ideabook were taken during different days of the year. “it’s very interesting to me to pay attention to the same plants seen in various seasons,” Dear says. “For instance, plants like the Siberian Iris (Iris sibirica ‘Ceasar’s Brother’) flower early in spring, but the seedpods which develop in the following weeks have an interest all their own. The foliage is still an awesome textural contrast long after the flowers have long gone and also has a terrific fall color as the seasons turn.”

Dear Garden Associates, Inc..

Dear can’t say enough about the potential for often-neglected side lawns. Look at your own with new eyes to see whether there is potential for a secret garden, even if it’s only a path with plants running vertically on a trellis beside it.

More: How to Turn a Side Yard Into a Dramatic Garden Room

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Maidenhair Fern Brings Lacy Grace into a Room

Maidenhair ferns are delicate plants with quite fine stalks and a lacy look, thanks to little leaflets writing the fronds. They need high humidity and also have other special care requirements, but their beauty and elegance may very well slip your heart, which makes the extra care well worth it.

Kate Jackson Design

Maidenhair fern will grow to about 3 feet tall in its natural habitat, but forms produced for houseplants are generally much smaller.

Julie Williams Design

A countertop location in a bright toilet may be the perfect humid environment for a maidenhair fern. Bowed fronds make it particularly suited to tall-footed urns, which give a graceful look as well as keep the fronds from touching the base surface, which may cause damage.

Sally Wheat Interiors

Supply indoor maidenhair ferns with warmth and moisture to keep them active. If the temperature goes lower than 60 degrees Fahrenheit or the plant dries out, it will probably go dormant. (More on what to do about that later.)

While the maidenhair fern with this coffee table looks stunning, a positioning such as this is recommended only if you live in a humid environment or do not mind misting your plant several times every day.

creative jewish mom.com

Maidenhair ferns grow from rhizomes that spread rapidly just under the surface of the soil. The fronds come from brownish-black leaf stalks, which unfold to exhibit their apple-green leaflets.

West Elm

A tiny potted maidenhair works well on a bed of damp stones in a footed terrarium (or even a goldfish bowl), which creates an perfect humid environment.

California Home + Design

It’s not called maidenhair for nothing. A planter is a fun way to liven up a space that is living.

How to look after a maidenhair fern:

Temperature: 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (16 to 24 degrees Celsius), although above 70 degrees is greatest. This plant is especially sensitive to cold drafts.

Light:
Color or a moderately lit spot. Intense bright light is not favored; direct sun will burn off the delicate plant.

Water: Keep the soil evenly moist year-round. If you allow the soil to dry out, even for a brief period, the foliage will quickly turn brown, and the plant will look lifeless. Not all is lost, however; the plant can return to life if you cut all the brown foliage and restart care as stated. To conserve a plant which hasn’t dried out completely, submerge the pot in a bucket of water keep it submerged until air bubbles stop rising to the surface. This may thoroughly moisten the soil and help keep the plant out of going into a dormant phase.

Soil: Use wealthy, loose, organic mulch; half potting mixture and half peat moss. Avoid potting mix containing fertilizer, since it can dissolve too fast and burn the delicate fern roots.

Feeding: Feed weekly with a weak liquid fertilizer during the growth season.

Humidity: High humidity is required.Unless your plant is in a humid toilet, use a tray of pebbles to keep the humidity elevated. Mist frequently. This is the perfect plant to use in a terrarium or even under a cloche (shown here), especially if high humidity is not functional in your house.

Repotting: Potting in a little container will not damage the plant, but keep your eye on the main development. If the roots fill the container, then it’s time to repot.If your plant is joyful, repotting may be necessaryonly one or two times per year, based on the bud size and expansion rate. Maidenhair can be divided by separating the rhizomes during repotting to make more plants. Each rhizome section requires just a few leaf stalks to grow into a new plant.

Toxicity: Nontoxic.

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A Chilly Massachusetts Bathroom Understands the Hotel-Spa Remedy

She loves to soak and he enjoys to steam and one of these was getting what they really wanted out of the master bathroom with its drafty window, dated fixtures, whirlpool shower and bathtub too large to be functional. This husband and wife wanted a personal and private space that felt like a modern resort spa, but using traditional touches. The outcome is a luxe and comfortable room that functions both of these as a fantasy escape at the end of a long day.

Bathroom at a Glance
Who lives here: A couple with two young daughters
Location: Beverly, Massachusetts
Size: Around 142 square feet

Megan Meyers Interiors

The 1990s structure was cold in temperature and style. Designer Megan Meyers took the room all the way down. “Unfortunately, in the 1990s a lot of building was not as concerned with tight envelopes such as we are today, so it was quite inefficient,” she says. Additionally, until she could get started on the fun things, the room had improved insulation, as it is situated above the garage.

The cold tile floors used to produce the homeowners dread going into the bathroom barefoot. Now the floors have radiant heat and also a new baseboard heating system. Meyers also substituted the drafty window using a new efficient one from Anderson Windows.

The floors look like marble but are ceramic tile. She chose quartz in Arabescato Verde to your shower brink to avoid tough-to-clean grout lines and because the green in the veining picks on the greens in the stained glass tiles.

Megan Meyers Interiors

A sizable vanity offers plenty of storage and also his-and-her sinks. The mirrors open to medicine cabinets and are mirrored on both sides. Crystal knobs add a little bling.

Vanity: Bertch; dressing table complete: Shale (the color is much lighter than it looks in this photograph); stained glass tiles: Vihara, Sonoma Tilemakers

Megan Meyers Interiors

Another large item on the spouse’s wish list was background, which is not a sensible idea in a room which has a steam shower (the newspaper starts to peel off from your stitches when exposed to too much steam). Meyers commissioned handsome artist Kasia Mirowska of Miro Art and Design to complete a unique stencil treatment which has a metallic background, glazing and a final coat of varnish. The owners may wipe condensation right from the beautifully stenciled walls.

Megan Meyers Interiors

Meyers additional picture-frame molding beneath the stenciled walls due to the 12-foot ceilings. “The molding attracts the room down to an individual level and is fitting with the toilet’s modernized traditional style,” she says.

Among the spouse’s leading wish list things was a chandelier with some bling. The James Moder Florale Chandelier adds traditional crystal in a whimsical floral style.

Megan Meyers Interiors

“The homeowners like to sail and also are attracted to decadent colors; I sourced this stained glass tile, and they fell in love with it,” Meyers says. She used 1- from 3-inch tiles on the backsplash and floor, then chose the 1/2- by-1-inch size in the exact same tile to the shower.

The counter is Italian Okite quartz, which looks like marble.

Faucets: Sigma; mirrors: Robern

Megan Meyers Interiors

BEFORE: The husband dreamed of a steam shower with lots of room instead of this standard shower.

Megan Meyers Interiors

BEFORE: The old tub was over 7 ft long and jetted. The couple used it in the 2 decades since they moved in. Well, that is not exactly true; they did fill it with balls to produce a ball pit to get both daughters — the bathtub was that large.

Megan Meyers Interiors

AFTER: Meyers borrowed space from the oversize tub surround to expand the shower stall, making it a 5- by 5-foot space.

Megan Meyers Interiors

Rather than a full wall between the bathtub and shower as seen in the earlier pictures, there are two large panes of glass. The center piece provides room for the plumbing and fittings. “Creating these two large ‘windows’ opened the shower to the light along with the views,” Meyers says.

The husband got the steam shower he’d needed so much.

Fixtures: Sigma

Megan Meyers Interiors

Meanwhile, the spouse’s fantasy of a large soaking tub, no jets required, came true on the other side. While initially she had pictured a cast iron claw-foot bathtub, Meyers steered her from Victoria and Albert’s Volcanic Limestone Collection because it holds heat better.

There’s also a European heated towel bar between the bathtub and the shower (not pictured). Window treatments in a quatrefoil pattern up the comfy factor and supply privacy.

Padding barefoot round the heated floors for a luxurious soak or a steam is a fantasy come true to the couple.

Baseboard heater (beneath window): Runtal; curtain fabric: Corralillo in Seaspray, Fabricut; side table: Worlds Away

More: Steam Showers Bring a Beloved Spa Feature Home

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Let Lilac Love Flower

“From the Spring,” the poet Tennyson tells us “a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.” He fails to say where a young lady’s fancy turns. I can speak only for myself, but each spring of my girlhood — as far back as I can remember — my fancy turned to thoughts of crime.

I am a reformed lilac thief.

I don’t wish to shift the blame or make excuses, but you should understand I had a deprived childhood, growing up in a house with no own lilac bush. And my assistants were pure: Lilacs were my mother’s favorite flower, and here in Michigan their blossom period almost always coincides with Mother’s Day. The church down the street had a magnificent bush, and each May, clutching my basket purse, I left my criminal pilgrimage.

My mother had no tolerance for thieving. When I was young I shoplifted just one bit of Brach’s candy. Upon discovering this (I stupidly asked what B-R-A-C-H-S spelled), my mother promptly turned the car around, marched me back to the supermarket and hauled me to the manager. He had been a softie and stated it was nice, it was nice, no big deal. But my mother was obdurate: It was not fine. Under her steely gaze I left my own sobbing apology and paid a dime, vowing never to slip again — and again, so far as shoplifting went, I kept it. My mother had frightened me directly.

And every spring, once I gave the exact same woman a bouquet of purloined posies, she obtained them with rapturous gratitude rather than ever challenged their provenance. Apparently in her publication, in regards to lilacs, there was no law. I am pleased to say that my entire life of crime ended when we moved to the nation and my mother planted a lilac part of our very own.

Dreamy Whites

Following my husband and I bought our first house, among the first things I did was plant a lilac bush on the southwest corner of the house, right outside our bedroom window. If it came into blossom, I would lie in bed and smell the heavenly odor. When we looked in our next house, I was pleased to observe a huge bush in the garden and a bigger one on the east side of this house that I could see and smell from our potential bedroom. I afterwards planted a third, and all three miraculously endured our fire.

Last April a writer I understand was leaving for a conference and bemoaned on Facebook her lilac was only blooming and could complete ahead of her return. I knew she was visiting a conference in my city several weeks after that and thought it only might line up with all our blossom time. I didn’t know her all that well but impulsively promised to deliver her some because the thought of somebody overlooking lilacs altogether was an unthinkable thought. The night prior to the conference, my lilacs were in their summit, and I fell off a beautiful bouquet in her hotel.

In Michigan spring can be so capricious. You never know exactly what you’re likely to get climate wise in April, but by early to mid-May, when the lilacs are blooming, you can be certain it is finally spring. Paradoxically, the hard winters and long dormancy provide what lilacs need. It’s commonly thought that lilacs can not survive in warmer climates due to the warmth, but it is the prolonged heat in combination with a mild winter. I was pleased to learn that there are a few varieties called “Southern bloomers” (though many of these were created in California) that do very well in warmer climates.

Pamela Bateman Garden Design

The common lilac isn’t the most attractive tree, also it takes up a lot of space. To me it is more than worth it of course, I have room for it. Luckily, there are many varieties available in a variety of colours and sizes as well as with staggered bloom times. My objective is to add several more varieties so I’ve flowers for weeks on end.

Rocco Fiore & Sons, Inc

If you want to put in a lilac to your garden — and I trust you do — you will find infinite possibilities. Lilacs thrive in USDA zones 3 to 9 (find your zone). If you’re in zones 9, be sure to select a “Southern bloomer” or just one marked for warmer climates. Lilacs need full sunlight, and once they’re set up, they are rather easy to take care of. They run the gamut on dimensions, from as small as 3 feet tall to stretching to 30 feet.

Pacific Ridge Landscapes Ltd

Dreamy Whites

I do understand a lilac of one’s own isn’t a possibility for everyone, for any number of factors. If this is you I advise throwing yourself into the arms of charity. Use the power of social networking — I am not joking. Look how that worked out for my friendly acquaintance, the writer.

Barbara Pintozzi

Ultimately, if all else fails, I can suggest some fiddling lilac thievery — that, if conducted properly, may not be a crime. Have a drive in the nation and eventually you will come across an abandoned farm, maybe with a ruins of a barn with just the rock foundation and a beautiful set of lilacs to indicate its former presence. Hippity-hop out of your vehicle and get to work.

Anita Diaz for Far Above Rubies

Despite the hardiness of this bush, the blossoms themselves are very delicate. Be certain to have a deep bucket full of lukewarm water in addition to a set of sharp trimmers. I smash the bottom of the branch with a hammer to ease the flow of water. Quickly strip the branch of leaves and then plunge it in the bucket. If you want a bit of greenery, pick some separately. Once you’re home, plunk them in anything. It’s impossible to arrange lilacs unattractively.

Love them with a clean conscience.

Great Design Plants: More shrubs for color and beauty in the backyard

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Kitchen Design Fix: How to Fit an Island Into a Little Kitchen

I have read again and again that a 12-foot-wide kitchen is not wide enough for an island. Of course, available space for an island is based upon the specific supply of kitchen workspaces, in addition to your way of life and household dynamics, however a 12-foot-wide kitchen can certainly have a remarkably efficient island. Small islands might be functional and beautiful alternative — as these gorgeous examples in a range of kitchen dimensions prove.

Shawn St.Peter Photography

This photograph is perfect for our conversation of islands in modestly sized kitchens. Contemplating the approximately 25 1/2-inch countertop thickness on both sides (and an inch or two to the bump-out of this farmhouse sink along with the freestanding gas range), you’d want a minimum of 36 inches clearance for aisle space. This leaves about 18 to 21 inches to the island thickness — and that’s countertop space worth having.

When it comes to private family dynamics, remember that this sort of setup doesn’t allow for another relative to squeeze by the person working at the stove or doing the dishes. I call it the “ass rub” factor, which could definitely cause arguments at the end of a long moment. A 36-inch clearance would likewise not be enough between a fridge and an island, unless it is a French door fridge, which has a bigger door swing.

One option would be to bring a small prep sink into the staircase, to avoid anybody’s having to walk around the island whilst somebody else is working at the stove.

JOHN DANCEY Custom Designing/Remodeling/Building

Think about a square island if it suits your distance, but remember that a countertop bigger than 4 by 4 ft will be tricky to reach and maintain clean.

To produce an island really yours, give some thought to what you want to shop there. It’s worthwhile to incorporate a mixture of small and large drawers, an open shelf for storing larger items such as platters, or baskets for storing root vegetables.

RemodelWest

This is a bigger kitchen with a magical little round island, with a stunning two-tone butcherblock top.

When deciding on the shape and style of an island, you’ll want to consider access for pets and kids, what you want to store and exhibit from the island and how often you entertain. Everyone has different ideas about the presence of pets and their snouts becoming into food-related items!

MP DESIGN

This is a simple yet very effective island layout executed with a 4-inch-thick butcher block top. Including a towel bar or some hooks to a side might help increase its usefulness, also.

Alabama Sawyer

It’s great to see this type of soft contemporary interpretation of a small island. Lifted up on trendy stainless steel legs, this island provides storage and style at precisely the same time. Selecting a small island also means you can be daring with your choice of material or colour.

Dallas Renovation Group

Little but hardworking, this tiny island is not more than 30 inches wide, yet it manages to house among those very practical microwave drawers. It’s nicely wrapped into angled posts, a simple design to incorporate into a small kitchen.

Drawer styles allow you to hide your microwave as much as possible; plus, you don’t have to strain to look at the controllers or load this up. The slanted control pad and push-button opening with this microwave stall make it easy on the eye and the trunk.

Watch more about microwave drawers

Southern Studio Interior Design

Twice the length of the prior island, this island is one hardworking bit of cabinetry. Beautifully executed with corner poles and a furniture-style Cable kick, it houses a microwave and a mini fridge.

The rock countertop with the corner detail adds another layer of elegance.

Turan Designs, Inc..

Along with a drawer cupboard, this unit helps retains cookbooks right in the hand. You might also add a row of square cubbies for wine bottle storage only below the counter tops, which would still allow for two shelves underneath.

USI Design & Remodeling

The small island provides you with an opportunity to add a splash of bold colour to an otherwise neutral area. This one appears charming and has lots of storage, and the timber counter adds country-living flavor.

Ana Williamson Architect

Here is an interesting way to create chairs space in a contemporary kitchen. Notice the way the white quartz counter is used instead of a cupboard gable on the sink side, continues the cupboard for approximately 12 inches and then juts outside to allow clearance for stools.

As for countertop overhangs, remember that rock counters need additional support than quartz ones. Brackets are a typical solution, however on a small unit they might get in the way. Flat steel bars are an undetectable alternative, but you should discuss this with your rock manufacturer and cabinet supplier early on.

Tip: Be alert to the different chair and stool heights, so you can pick the right one to your kitchen. Be certain to test each version by actually sitting inside it, as particular layouts work better for short- or long-legged individuals than others.

A typical chair height is 18 inches for a 30-inch-high dining table. But, that height will not do the job for a high-countertop. Search for 24-inch-high stools to your own kitchen island, unless the model has an choice to move the chair up or down.

Stools for standard 42-inch bar heights are generally 30 inches high and often have a footrest.

Marrokal Design & Remodeling

This is just another inventive instance of a tiny island; it has a diminished seating area in a contrasting material. The timber counter’s round shape is perfect for a smooth transition into the aisle area, and timber is soft and warm to the touch, as opposed to granite.

Permit 2 feet of width per chair for comfortable seats — even more if the both of you want to both read the newspaper at precisely the same time in the morning.

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Kitchen Cabinets: Antibacterial Copper Gives Kitchens a Gleam

Copper has a long background in the kitchen; it’s been used as a material for kitchen sinks and butter for centuries. As a result, its benefits and disadvantage are well established and agreed upon. This gorgeous metal makes an instantaneous statement when employed for kitchen sinks, and it garners a unique patina over time due to its reactive nature.

Nowadays copper sinks can be found in a vast range of shapes, sizes and styles, allowing them to work beautifully in your kitchen, no matter what your kitchen design is. Here are some basics to assist you determine if this is the kitchen sink material for you.

Signature Hardware

Aberdeen Smooth Double Well Farmhouse Copper Sink – $926.95

The fundamentals: Hand-formed copper is full of character as a result of its color, malleability and ever-changing patina. Copper sinks include varying thicknesses: 14 gauge (thicker and high in quality) to 18 gauge (thinner and less expensive).

Cost: $450 to $1,000 on average.However, costs can certainly increase for thicker-gauge copper and more complex sink layouts.

Lasley Brahaney Architecture + Construction

Benefits: Copper is powerful but easy to shape, therefore copper sinks can be found in a vast range of styles, shapes and dimensions, and can be made quite large and deep.

Based on the gauge, copper can last for several decades. Fragile dishes will also be less likely to break if dropped to a copper sink, since it is malleable and not as hard as ordinary stones.

And best of all, aluminum is filled with antimicrobial properties, making it an superb choice for bacteria-filled kitchens.

UB Kitchens

Cons: Not all copper sinks are created equal. The thicker the copper, the more durable the sink. Thin copper sinks are more likely to dent, scratch and even warp with time.

Be aware that copper is an extremely reactive metal, and its finish will certainly change over time. A sink’s natural patina and finish can be ruined by acidic fluids, sexy dishware and abrasive cleansers.

In Detail Interiors

Sustainability: Copper is 100 percent recyclable. It can be melted, forged and shaped as many times as required. In fact, according to the Northwest Mining Association, about half of the copper products purchased annually in North America come from aluminum. Premium scrap copper has at least 95 percent of their worth of freshly mined copper.

Epiphany Design Studio

Maintenance: Copper is known for its sanitary benefits (germs can survive on copper for only a matter of hours). Plain old hot, soapy water cleans it all best. Additionally, it is constantly changing color and developing interest and variation, but you are able to slow down this process with wax treatments a few times a year. You will also want to avoid abrasive cleansers.

Bellacor

Ballard Smooth Weathered Copper Kitchen Sink

Are you really a lover of copper kitchen sinks? Share your thoughts in the Remarks section below.

See the way the copper sink can work with your home’s design

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Basement of the Week: Patterns Promise Fun and Kicky Colors

“Entertaining, bright and joyful” was the phrase this mother of 2 young boys used to refer to her dream cellar makeover. She gave a sheet of cloth she adored to interior designer Cathy Zaeske as a starting point. “My customer wanted a family-friendly, inviting and stylish space that included a house theater with lots of seating, a play area, a workout area, an office, a homework station and revamped storage options,” Zaeske states. She got to work on a practical design, did a smart bargain shopping and balanced bold and light colours to brighten up the space.

Basement at a Glance
Who lives here: A mom with twin boys in elementary school
Location: External Chicago
Size: 475 square feet
Approximate budget: Only under $10,000

Your Favorite Room By Cathy Zaeske

“The first thing I did was decide the requirements of the family and subsequently developed a floor plan from zone,” Zaeske states. She delineated the different zones using carpets, colours, furniture and present components like columns. Layout and Color create flow and continuity.

Carousel Designs

Confetti Pom Pon Play Fabric – $15

The customer had fallen in love with Waverly Pom Pon Play Confetti cloth; it inspired the color palette, which incorporates bold and vivid color grounded by black beams.

Before Photo

Your Favorite Room By Cathy Zaeske

“The space was completed but overrun with toys and clutter. It was the typical catchall space full of cast-off furniture and dated electronics,” Zaeske states.

Your Favorite Room By Cathy Zaeske

Zaeske balanced smooth glistening surfaces with feel. This wavy textured wallpaper contrasts with all the straight lines of this mirror.

Paint: Great Blue Green AC 149, Cloverdale Paint; textured wallpaper: Patent Decor by York, PT9404

Before Photo

Your Favorite Room By Cathy Zaeske

Your Favorite Room By Cathy Zaeske

Average of a cellar, the windows were little and didn’t let in much all-natural light.

“There are only two little windows in the room, so we needed to maintain the room as bright as possible,” Zaeske states. “The light carpeting was in great shape, so we could utilize that but freshen this up with layered rugs rugs.”

To create the illusion of a complete window, Zaeske purchased an off-the-shelf woven Roman shade; split the top valance portion and put in it at ceiling height; hung at the bottom portion of the shade beneath the window, simulating a top window shade; and framed the windows along with her inspiration cloth

“This window is my favourite feature in the room. It gives the impression that the room is brighter and taller,” Zaeske states.

Your Favorite Room By Cathy Zaeske

Basements are usually full of pesky supports that hold up the house, and ductwork that heats and cools it. Sometimes you’ve got to work with this.

“We decided to conceal the pillar in plain sight and make it an advantage,” Zaeske states. “Does the pillar help specify the TV area from the rest of the space, but it is a wonderful platform for the client’s favorite quotes and sayings; we left space so that she can add to it over time.”

Swivel seat: Rebecca, Grandinroad; TV unit: Besta Burs, Ikea; stickers: plastic, Michael’s and Hobby Lobby

Before Photo

Your Favorite Room By Cathy Zaeske

BEFORE: A hodgepodge of strangely scaled shelves left a lot to be desired.

Your Favorite Room By Cathy Zaeske

An Expedit bookcase from Ikea paired with vibrant boxes from Pier 1 Imports supplies coordinated toy storage that leaves everything easy to catch.

Painting the handrail and newel post black gave them a crisp look that picks on another dark accents within the room.

Ceiling paint: Cloud Nine; trim paint: Chantilly Lace (equally by Benjamin Moore)

Your Favorite Room By Cathy Zaeske

This homework station provides lots of storage for electronics and paper documents, as well as display space for books and favorite products.

“Ghost Chairs are a good way to put in a playful spirit to the space, and they take no visual burden,” Zaeske states.

Your Favorite Room By Cathy Zaeske

“We chose to utilize a sectional in a kid-friendly cloth and dark color for comparison,” Zaeske states. “Balance was quite crucial in this space to maintain the palette from appearing too cutsey — we balanced warm with trendy, bumpy with smooth and dark with light.”

Sofa: Milo Sectional, Macy’s

Your Favorite Room By Cathy Zaeske

Light carpeting, walls, trim and accents, along with mirrors and bright lighting, maintain the room as bright as if it were aboveground.

Your Favorite Room By Cathy Zaeske

“Lights and mirrors are my mantra when designing a cellar with low ceilings — it is a great way to expand the walls as well as double the light,” Zaeske states.

Chandelier: Portfolio 3-Light, Lowe’s; mirror: HomeGoods

Your Favorite Room By Cathy Zaeske

Exercise gear is tucked behind the dwelling room, where consumers can still enjoy a view of the TV. A Besta Burs Desk from Ikea functions as a sofa table.

Your turn: Show us your cellar redo!

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Guest Groups: Valentine's Day Presents for Men

Buying Valentine’s Day gifts for men can be tricky; I know how hard it is to search for my husband, at the least. To make the task easier, I have put together a selection of 20 creative gift ideas that I feel any man might like. — Beth from Home Stories A to Z

Etsy

The Butler by Micklish – $170

Telephones Keys and eyeglasses end up scattered on the kitchen counter tops. This storage system that is adorable seems like the gift that is perfect to keep the man in your life tidy.

Etsy

Hobbit Viking Beard and Hat by Holy Noggins – $60

This made me laugh out loud. I have observed a good deal of “blossom hats” on Etsy, but this one is perfect for the Lord of the Rings nerd on your own household. My husband would love to live vicariously as a dwarf in one of these hats.

Purchase

CRKT Guppie 9-in-1 Multi Tool – $20.99

I sent my husband to the home improvement store to pick up some construction supplies, and he arrived home with this on his key chain. Needless to say, this multitool gadget makes a fantastic Valentine’s Day present. It’s a multibit screwdriver, a mini-wrench, a blade and an LED flashlight. I think I might need one for myself.

Alexandra Ferguson

Let’s Make Out 22″ – $125

I have a good deal of typographic pillows in my house, and most of them say things like “nest” or “sea.” When I showed this pillow to my husband, his reply was, “Ultimately, a typographic pillow with a message I could get behind!”

Etsy

Man Candle, Kentucky Bourbon by Chicago Candle Co..

For the man that enjoys the smell of alcohol, these candles would make the perfect present. Get the sensory experience of bourbon with no calories (or even the buzz).

Co Co.. Sala

Chocolate-Enrobed Bacon

Steak and bacon is a bizarre mix, but it seems perfect for the man this Valentine’s Day. I think this deal could easily be DIYed for the event. Shaping your bacon to hubs before baking would allow it to be extra adorable.

Amazon

The Person Could – $48.99

I really don’t think many men will readily admit it, but I think they like to be pampered with fun spa products created for them. This “Man Could” stuffed with pampering pleasantries looks like a fun Valentine’s Day gift to give.

Amazon

101 Things Every Man Should Know How to Do – $9.55

With chapter titles like “Fight a Bear,” “Make a Superhero” and “Grow a Successful Beard,” 101 Things Every Man Should Know How to Do seems funny. I think my valentine would love getting this publication.

ThinkGeek

Star Trek Enterprise Pizza Cutter – $29.99

I love this Valentine’s Day gift idea for the Trekkie in your lifetime. My nerdy father would have loved this Star Trek Enterprise pizza cutter. Pizza night only got a whole lot more fun.

Etsy

Men’s Latitude and Longitude Personalized Leather Bracelet by Gunmetal Gems – $35

Commemorate that the latitude and longitude of the very first date, first kiss, set of proposal, wedding, honeymoon, conception of infant, etc. on this bracelet that is customizable.

Etsy

Hand-Stamped Guitar Pick and Case by My Heart Shop – $25

For the musical lover in your lifetime, an engraved guitar pick with a carrying case would make such a thoughtful gift. I like the notion of telling your man that you think he rocks.

The Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club

The U.S. and International Variety Beer Club – $29.95

If you and your sweetie are fans of beer, a beer of the month club may be the perfect present for both of you this Valentine’s Day. I’d score some important “wife points” in the opinion of my husband when I bought this for this season.

The Unemployed Philosophers Guild

Shakespearean Insult Mug – $12.95

I think my professor husband would love to drink his morning beverage while thinking Shakespearean insults. This cup will make a great conversation piece in the teacher’s lounge and a fun gift to offer.

Etsy

Dark Chocolate Brown Leather Journal or Sketchbook from Daniel Heywood on Etsy – $87

A leather-bound journal/sketchbook is timeless and lovely. My man loves to jot down notes, and it is hard to find non-girly journals. This one looks perfect.

Amazon

Ring Thing Bottle Opener, Stainless Steel, Size 12 – $9.95

At first glance, this looks like just an interesting silver ringnonetheless, this ring also serves a fun function. Give this to your man for Valentine’s Day, and he will not be without a bottle opener. It’s such a fun and unique gift.

UncommonGoods

Toggle Switch Plate – $40

Who knew that something as simple as turning a light off and on could be made in an wonderful conversation piece. I adore these toggle switch plates and feel that they would make a fantastic present for your individual’s office or den.

UncommonGoods

Scratch Map – $24

I think this would make a romantic Valentine’s Day present. Scratch off all of the areas in the world you see together on this unique map.

UncommonGoods

Bike Chain Frame – $36

Giving the gift of a cherished photograph for Valentine’s Day is always valued, however I think my man would love it even more if it arrived in an über-cool frame. This one is ecofriendly with an industrial charm that I think he’d love.

UncommonGoods

Upcycled Mail Sack iPad Case – $55

Many iPad cases are too feminine or too boring for my guy. This upcycled mail bag has the best “grunge variable” for the eco-loving man.

UncommonGoods

Silver Form Essential Cufflink – $70

Vintage typewriter keys make everything cooler. I adore these personalized cufflinks, and I think that they would make a unique and thoughtful Valentine’s Day present.

Next: Make Your House More Man-Friendly

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Desert and Texas Southwest Gardener's January Checklist

This month we are trying something a little different: We are including our neighbors over in the desert Southwest in our garden chores here. While we could only talk with regards to USDA hardiness zones, that would give you just partial information, as 8a Dallas and 8a at Las Cruces and in parts of Arizona are not created equal.

Soil differences and average rainfall vary so enormously in such areas that we can not make blanket statements about what to plant or prune. So look for breakout notes on various areas and, as always, ask your county’s extension office to get even more specific information.

Amy Renea

Start seeds. Texas gardeners can begin tomato and pepper seeds indoors, but make certain to use a expanding light or maintain the seeds with a bright window. Rotate your seeds daily to help them grow strong, straight stalks.

Desert Southwest gardeners can begin seeds of larkspur, poppies and other wildflowers, which may be somewhat difficult to find if you actually want them in your garden.

Margie Grace – Grace Design Associates

care of fruit trees. If you live in the desert Southwest, you’ll want to receive your fruit trees at the ground as early in January as possible and prune your deciduous fruit trees and grapes.

Texas gardeners need to spray their own fruit trees with dormant oil and sharpen their pruning shears also, as January is your last opportunity to make those cuts.

Amy Renea

Plant vegetables. There are lots of vegetables to be planted this month! Both Texas and desert Southwest gardeners can plant broccoli, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, Asian greens, spinach, kale, cauliflower, collards, lettuce, mustard, artichokes and asparagus crowns. Make sure to prepare your beds by simply amending the soil if necessary and by choosing a bright, sunny place for the ideal harvest.

More on growing vegetables in cool weather

Gardening with Confidence®

Add yearly color. For most areas it is still a fantastic time to plant pansies, snapdragons, cyclamens, violas, inventory and alyssum in garden beds as well as containers. These annuals enjoy sunny sites but will tolerate some light, dappled shade.

Jean Marsh Design

Plant perennials, trees and shrubs. Trees should be planted in both Texas and the desert Southwest in January, but with a few differences.

In Texas, plant evergreen and deciduous trees; at the desert Southwest, make your shade trees at the ground as early in January as you can. Bare-root trees should be planted before they leaf out.

For these areas, it is still a fantastic time to plant shrubs and perennials.

Desert Southwest gardeners can plant desert marigold (Baileya multiradiata), guara (Gaura lindheimeri), angelita daisy (Hymenoxys acaulis) and canyon penstemon (Penstemon pseudospectabilis).

Texas gardeners can plant blackfoot daisy (Melampodium leucanthum), autumn sage (Salvia greggii), Mexican mint marigold (Tagetes lucida) and copper canyon daisy (Tagetes lemmonii).

Niki Jabbour

Protect your crops. In warm areas, winter may sport some fairly cold temperatures, so it is important to protect your crops from freeze damage.

Throw a frost blanket over your own vegetable transplants, or sew Styrofoam cups smaller cacti and succulents. Make certain to remove the coverings by about 9 a.m. the following morning, since the sun will heat up everything; you do not need to make a muggy greenhouse outside there.

J. Peterson Garden Design

Check your irrigation. Texas gardeners that have inground irrigation systems should conduct a test on all zones to be certain there are no breaks in the lines or heads.

Desert Southwest gardeners will likely be on drip irrigation, however, these systems need to be checked occasionally as well. Be certain the drip emitters do not have any damage from critters chewing on them, and that they’re reaching the plants that need watering.

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